Getty Images

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

5 Comments

Here are the scores and highlights from Saturday’s games, including Jeremy Guthrie’s worst birthday ever.

Tigers 4, Red Sox 1: So much for the Twins’ undefeated streak. White Sox’ right-hander Miguel Gonzalez rattled off five scoreless frames on Saturday afternoon, striking out six of 27 batters and holding the Twins to two runs and two walks in over six total innings. Jason Castro bounced back in the sixth with a two-RBI home run to center field, but it wasn’t enough to even the score after Avisail Garcia and Geovany Soto went back-to-back in the bottom of the inning.

Cardinals 10, Reds 4: According to Elias Sports Bureau, Bronson Arroyo became the first 40-year-old to start a game for the Reds since 46-year-old Hod Lisenbee and 40-year-old Boom Beck appeared in the Reds’ rotation in 1945. It was a tumultuous and short-lived return to the mound for the veteran right-hander, who has been conspicuously absent from the majors for over three years. Whether it was nerves or rustiness, Arroyo sank the Reds into a six-run deficit by the fourth inning after handing the Cardinals six hits, three walks and two Aledmys Diaz home runs.

Orioles 5, Yankees 4: Baseball stats mean precious little in the first few months of a new season, but it’s worth pointing out that the Yankees currently have the third-most valuable bullpen in the American League, trailing only the Orioles and Angels. That did them little good on Saturday, however, when they lost another one-run game on a pair of RBI base hits in the seventh. Complicating matters was Gary Sanchez’s biceps strain, which he sustained after fouling off a pitch in the fifth. Perhaps it’s better to just remember Saturday’s game as the day Matt Holliday notched the 2,000th hit of his 14-year career:

Rays 3, Blue Jays 2 (11 innings): For four solid innings, Chris Archer and Aaron Sanchez were flawless. Archer delivered six strikeouts and kept a perfect game going until the fifth, while Sanchez allowed just two hits and prevented runners from reaching past second base. It was fitting, then, to see a pitchers’ duel decided by a pitching flub in the eleventh inning, when, with the bases loaded and two outs, the Blue Jays’ Casey Lawrence worked a 3-2 count against Brad Miller and walked in the winning run.

Pirates 6, Braves 4: Things could be going better for the Braves. An early win against the Mets last week ensured that they wouldn’t repeat their nine-game losing streak to start the season, but they’ve taken three consecutive losses since. Saturday was no better: R.A. Dickey buckled under nine runs, six walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, and despite an airtight performance from the bullpen, Atlanta couldn’t quite muster the two runs they needed to regain the lead in the eighth inning.

Phillies 17, Nationals 3: Jeremy Guthrie has undoubtedly seen better birthdays. The Nationals selected the right-hander’s contract on Friday while Joe Ross finished his optional assignment, allowing Guthrie a brief window to make an impression on the team. Unfortunately, the impression he made was a poor one. Guthrie served up six hits, four walks, and a staggering ten runs through 2/3 of the first inning before left-hander Enny Romero came in to replace him. There’s no coming back from a disadvantage that great, especially after the Nationals saw their ten-run deficit snowball to a 14-run gap by the end of the eighth inning.

Cubs 11, Brewers 6: The Cubs looked more like their old World Champion selves on Saturday, evening the series with an 11-run effort on the back of Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr., among others. Every starting player — including right-hander Kyle Hendricks — logged at least one hit, and they collectively tagged the Brewers’ Tommy Milone with nine hits and four runs through four innings.

Royals 7, Astros 3: The Cubs weren’t the only ones who recovered some of their championship-caliber stuff this weekend. The Royals found a spark against the Astros’ bullpen, driving five hits, six runs and two homers against Houston right-hander Luke Gregerson in a decisive eighth-inning rally that brought to mind another late-game comeback from Kansas City’s 2015 postseason run. This time, however, the only compensation the Royals received was a series win, which they’ll look to convert into a sweep on Sunday.

Marlins 8, Mets 1: It looks like another standout performance is in the cards for Marcell Ozuna this season. The 26-year-old outfielder was batting .412/.444/.412 through his first four games of 2017 before Saturday, when he drove in two runs and unleashed a 437-foot, double-deck home run off of Robert Gsellman, falling just 10 feet shy of his all-time home run record.

Athletics 6, Rangers 1: With Sonny Gray still working his way back to the mound after sustaining a lat injury, Kendall Graveman has stepped to the forefront of the A’s rotation. It’s easy to see why. The right-hander was dominant on Saturday, taking a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings against the Rangers and serving up two walks, five strikeouts and an unfortunately-placed 94 mph sinker to Mike Napoli.

Diamondbacks 11, Indians 2: You’ve seen a player hit for the cycle before, but have you seen a team collectively hit for the cycle in the span of one inning? The Diamondbacks engineered such a cycle in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game, starting with a David Peralta home run and followed by a Paul Goldschmidt double, Yasmany Tomas triple, Brandon Drury double and Jeff Mathis single. The inning ended, fittingly, with a seven-pitch strikeout to Zach Grienke, but the damage was already done, and another six-run spread in the eighth inning cemented the Diamondbacks’ 11-run rout.

Rockies 4, Dodgers 2: Coors Field is bound to get the best of every pitcher at some point, and on Saturday, it got the best of Clayton Kershaw. Nolan Arenado crushed a home run in the bottom of the first inning, while Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra went back-to-back in the sixth. By the end of the night, the Rockies had worked eight hits, four runs and three homers off of the Dodgers’ ace, marking the first game since April 17, 2013 in which Kershaw had allowed more than two home runs to opposing batters.

Padres 2, Giants 1: Giants’ left fielders Jarrett Parker and Aaron Hill continued their scoreless streak at the plate on Saturday, making the club’s recent acquisition of Melvin Upton Jr. all that more appealing. Madison Bumgarner wasted a complete game effort in the loss, issuing two runs, two walks and five strikeouts over eight innings.

Angels 5, Mariners 4: Despite Felix Hernandez’s steady decline over the last two seasons, there’s no denying he’s still a dominant force on the mound. No one felt the brunt of that more than Mike Trout, who lost a 14-pitch battle with the King during his first at-bat on Saturday:

The Angels had the last laugh, however, returning in the second to kick off a five-run effort that propelled them to their second win of the series.

Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel lead 19 newcomers on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot

Getty Images
16 Comments

Hall of Fame ballots for the 2018 induction class have been mailed out to the Baseball Writers Association of America voters and the names on the ballot were released to the public this morning. Among the top newcomers: Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Kerry Wood and Jamie Moyer . There are 19 new candidates in all. There are, of course, several holdovers too.

The newcomers, in alphabetical order:

Chris Carpenter
Johnny Damon
Livan Hernandez
Orlando Hudson
Aubrey Huff
Andruw Jones
Chipper Jones
Jason Isringhausen
Carlos Lee
Brad Lidge
Hideki Matsui
Kevin Millwood
Jamie Moyer
Scott Rolen
Johan Santana
Jim Thome
Omar Vizquel
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

Chipper Jones, the 1999 MVP, one of the best switch-hitters of all time and the unparalleled offensive star of the great Braves teams of the 1990s and early 2000s seems like a shoe-in. His case is boosted above his fantastic offensive numbers in the eyes of many voters by virtue of playing for the same team for his entire career.

Jim Thome is probably going to get a very large vote total and possibly will be inducted, having hit over 600 homers in his career. A challenge to his first-year induction is presented by the very large backlog of deserving candidates, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and by the fact that Thome’s career corresponded with baseball’s home run boom of the 1990s. Unlike other passed-over candidates of his era, Thome was never implicated in performance enhancing drug use, but it is the case that homers became cheaper for everyone during his career, and some may consider him a one-dimensional candidate. I suspect he’ll be in Cooperstown soon, be it this year or next year.

Omar Vizquel will receive a lot of support but his candidacy will also draw a lot of controversy. His backers will cite his defense and his longevity. His detractors will note that his defense was nowhere near as good as other defense-first inductees in the past such as Ozzie Smith, and that it was in no way good enough to make up for his below average bat. Complicating all of this will be fact that two superior defensive candidates who happened to have outstanding offensive numbers to go with them — Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen — are unlikely to receive anything approaching the level of support Vizquel will get, leading to . . . a lot of arguing.

And now the holdovers from last year’s ballot and ballots past, with last year’s percentage of the vote in parenthesis. Candidates need 75% of the vote in order to be inducted:

Barry Bonds (53.8)
Roger Clemens (54.1)
Vladimir Guerrero (71.1)
Trevor Hoffman (74.0)
Jeff Kent (16.7)
Edgar Martinez (58.6)
Fred McGriff (21.7)
Mike Mussina (51.8)
Manny Ramirez (23.8)
Curt Schilling (45.0)
Gary Sheffield (13.3)
Sammy Sosa (8.6)
Billy Wagner (10.2)
Larry Walker (21.9)

We’ve talked about all of these guys before, of course. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero seem likely to be elected given how close they came to induction last year. Many quite worthy candidates such as Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling will likely continue to receive less support than they deserve. PED-associated candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a boost in their previously-flagging candidacies last year, getting over 50% of the vote for the first time, but it’s unlikely that they’ll jump 22 and 21 points, respectively. Lesser PED-associated candidates such as Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez will likely forever remain on the outside looking in.

The results of the election will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, live on MLB Network.